Stocks look weak on the open, but assigning a direction to where the market is heading this morning will have to wait until the
National Association of Purchasing Management
Purchasing Managers Index
at 10 a.m. EST.
The NAPM showed renewed strength in January, and with the resurgence of manufacturing, economists expect it came in strong in February as well.
The question is how strong. With their recent selloffs, the bond and stock markets have certainly discounted at least moderately robust data. Economists expect that the NAPM will hold on to January's gains, coming in at 49.4.
Even if the NAPM came in surprisingly weak, it might not be enough to save tech stocks. This morning,
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette
analyst Charles Boucher lowered his rating on
to market perform from buy. Boucher also cut his 1999 earnings estimate to $4.50 from $4.65, his 2000 estimate to $5.30 from $5.45 and his target price to 160 from 175.
"The numbers that DLJ cut to are not way below the Street," said one trader. Still, said the trader, the downgrade was enough to put pressure on the market in techs. "It has a negative tone, which is probably all we need to start things lower today. Things were definitely for sale on Friday."
At 9 a.m., the
futures were off 1.3, more than 6 below fair value and indicating a negative open.
figures for January were a little less moderate than economists had expected, and that was putting slight pressure on the Treasury market. The 30-year was off 11/32 to 94 27/32, lifting the yield to 5.58%.
Japanese stocks lost ground, hurt by jitters over corporate profits and continued pressure by firms unwinding cross shareholdings ahead of the end of the fiscal year on March 31. The
dropped 145.79, or 1%, to 14,221.75.
Hong Kong's stock market kept climbing on the back of hefty gains in
. HSBC said last week that it will seek listing in New York by year-end. Because its comparative valuation is much lower than its U.S. counterparts, HSBC has generated a lot of active buying by investors who expect the Wall Street listing to raise its multiple. The
climbed 161.97, or 1.6%, to 10,020.46.
Europe's major indices were all lower. In Frankfurt, the
was down 74.05, or 1.5%, to 4837.76. In Paris, the
was off 33.92 to 4059.02. In London, the
was down 53.7 to 6121.4.
Monday's Wake-Up Watchlist
- State and federal antitrust enforcers would seek to break
Microsoft's (MSFT) - Get Report control over personal-computer makers if the government prevails in the software giant's antitrust trial,
The Wall Street Journal reported. The Journal said the effort could shift the balance of power in the PC industry, giving manufacturers more freedom to offer software and online services they develop or license from Microsoft's rivals. The newspaper said that while the case could go either way and any ruling is sure to be appealed, evidence presented in the four-month-long trial showed that even PC makers like
Compaq (CPQ) and
Gateway (GTW) faced retribution from Mister Softee if they offered software or other features that didn't fit with Microsoft's plans.
UGI (UGI) - Get Report and
Unisource Worldwide (UWW) are merging in a deal valued at $815 million. Under the agreement, UGI will issue 0.566 common share for each Unisource share. Based on the closing stock prices of UGI and Unisource on Friday, this represents a price of $11.50 per Unisource share, or a premium of about 65% over the stock's closing price Friday of 7. Unisource Worldwide stockholders will own about 55% of the combined company.
Duke Realty Investments (DRE) - Get Report is buying
Weeks (WKS) for $1.7 billion in stock and debt.
Patriot American Hospitality (PAH) - Get Report is tossing its real estate investment trust status and will convert to a regular tax-paying corporation. The firm also agreed to an equity investment of $1 billion from an investor group. Patriot, whose shares are paired with those of its operating company,
Wyndham International, said James D. Carreker, chairman and CEO of Wyndham, has been named to the additional position of CEO of Patriot American, effective immediately. Paul A. Nussbaum, meanwhile, has resigned his position as chairman and CEO of Patriot American and has been named chairman emeritus.
In other news (earnings estimates from
Albertson's (ABS) posted fourth-quarter earnings of 77 cents, in line with the 18-analyst view and up from the year-ago 71 cents.
Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is buying a French bottling concern in a deal valued at $100 million.
The government Jan. 29 asked online auctioneer
eBay (EBAY) - Get Report for information relating to an investigation of possible illegal transactions in connection with eBay's Web site. eBay said it is fully cooperating with the inquiry.
In the issue that hits newsstands today,
The New Yorker says
Goldman Sachs may take itself public as soon as May.
Harnischfeger (HPH) posted a first-quarter loss of 36 cents a share, in line with the seven-analyst estimate and better than the year-earlier loss from continuing operations of 53 cents.
Ingersoll-Rand (IR) - Get Report is buying
Harrow Industries for $160 million.
Lehman Brothers (LEH) to buy from market perform.